Your Stories From January

We are delighted to hear about all the wonderful events and activities being run throughout Scotland to celebrate the Year of Young People. Many congregations are signing pledges to commit themselves to engaging with young people in their local communities, holding launch services, discussing ministry with children and young people in the Kirk Session and making exciting plans for the year ahead.

Dive into the stories below for ideas and inspiration of what you could do to celebrate the Year of Young People. Send in your stories and photos to YOYP@churchofscotland.org.uk for the chance to be included in next month's story.

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Children praying at St. Davids Memorial Park Church in Kirkintilloch

St. Davids Memorial Park Church, Kirkintilloch

Our service included many popular praise songs and was led by our praise band. Dave Brackenridge from Rookie Rockstars, a free music programme which focusses on health and wellbeing, led us in worship. He encouraged us to recognise what gifts we could use in our church and congregation regardless of our age. We are looking forward to celebrating and encouraging the children and young people in our congregation and community throughout the Year of Young People.

Dalmuir Barclay Church

Our YOYP Launch service was fantastic and included five-year-old children saying prayers, an eight-year-old giving the church reading and children collecting the bibles and the collection. The minister even dressed up as Mr Potato Head - it was amazing!

The Parish Church of Kelso North and Ednam

At our church, two teenagers answered questions and helped with a discussion on young people. They were so open to our questions. The young people said they liked church - the singing, being made to feel welcomed. I had to say I wasn’t paying them! We played music from Donna Summers, to Stormzy and King’s College Choir. At times the young people were jumping out of their seat. I can’t say how positive it all was - the congregations were so supportive and encouraging. Rev Anna Rodwell

The Shed project, Stornoway

At The Shed project, we are very much committed to being involved with YOYP and held a fantastic youth service in January where we signed the charter.

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Teenagers taking a selfie at The Shed project in Stornoway
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Young people playing games at The Shed project in Stornoway

New Wellwynd Parish Church, Airdrie

We have just set up a Nurture and Support Working Group as part of the work of the Kirk Session. My concern has been for a long time that we have been “babysitting” our children and young people rather than nurturing them in the faith with the hope and desire that they might become “disciples”, an integrated part of the church family with a part to play and recognised ministry. The Toolkit has been a great discussion starter for this new group as will the YOYP which we will start after this summer allowing us to go through a whole session.  We are looking to see how we can include children and young people in a more meaningful in the worship, work and witness of the church. Rev Robert A Hamilton

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The Aberfeldy Parish Church congregation celebrating the Year of Young People

Aberfeldy Parish Church

Over 100 people attended our youth-led service. Showcasing the last 15 years of The Breathe Project’s development, young people welcomed, led worship and delivered presentations about their current work as well as their hopes and aspirations for 2018. We had an exceptional turn out of parents, young people and congregation members who have benefitted from our youth work over the years and we also got the opportunity to thank our many volunteers past and present, many of whom have prayed for decades for a time such as this.

Stepps Parish Church, Glasgow

We really embraced the Year of Young People launch. The youth folk lead the worship. We used the Jesus and Peter Sketch. We also re-worked the "My Church" video with the young folk imagining that if they were writing it, what would they say? We are planning for the young folk to lead worship several times this year. We are also planning a summer festival where our young folk will work with other groups to host young people from the local community. Rev Gordon MacRae

St Andrew’s Parish Church, Arbroath

Having the launch service planned and led by a young person, and with the engagement of the children of the congregation, was truly heartening. I hope churches up and down the country are just as eager and enthused to celebrate the Year of Young People.

NYA Intern, Catriona Munro

At St Andrew's Parish Church, a team have been leading services while their minister is off on sick leave. The YOYP service was led by Adele Marr, a local youth worker and member of the National Youth Assembly community. For the service, Adele involved children and young people from the congregation in leading prayer, participating in the short talk and engaging in the YOYP song “Every Single Little Thing” which was specially written for this celebratory year.

Celebrating the gifts each individual has to offer the church, and looking at how churches can nurture the gifts of their young people, many of us came away inspired and hopeful for all we have to offer.  As a group of young adults gathering for worship together, it was encouraging not only to see the sanctuary filled out, but to feel the warmth and enthusiasm towards us as visitors, and as young people.

Marchmont St Giles' Parish Church

Previously children have only been involved in the nativity play at the Church, but at this service a seven-year-old was invited to give the reading. The congregation loved the service and there was a real enthusiasm around all ages worshipping together.

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A mother and baby at Livingston United Parish Church

Livingston United Parish Church

We developed and signed our own charter for children and young people to mark the Year of Young People, recognizing that they are equal partners with adults in the life of the church.

Colinton Parish Church

Thank you for a lovely service yesterday. I especially liked seeing the children hand-in-hand with the church elders serving communion.

Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church

The call to worship was led by Adam Wilson, a member of the ‘Youth Zone’ (high school ages), and the Year of Young People prayer was led by six of the church’s young people and the youth leader. Hymns were also chosen by the junior church. Rev Bryce Calder invited representatives from across the congregation and local organisations to sign the charter. The Junior Church then completed a large display of handprints to go on our new YOYP notice board.